Boo! Just on time for Halloween candy! How do I get my kids to brush longer? How do I get my kids to brush without arguing? How do I know if my kids are doing a good job brushing their teeth? If you’ve asked yourself these questions, you are not alone! But I’ve got a fun hack for you – by kids for kids – to help teach better brushing, ensure they brush long enough, and make it as painless and pleasant as possible! Introducing the Family Teeth Brushing Game, created by 6-year old Michelle and 8-year old Emma!
Does this sound familiar?
You: “Did you brush your teeth?”
Kid: “Yesssss” [exasperated]
You: “Let me smell your breath.”
I’m not sure if the let me smell your breath thing is something passed down from my Mom (Mom, are you reading this, did you used to say this to me lol?) – but I’ve slowly realized that it implies one of two things (1) I don’t trust my child to have actually brushed or (2) I don’t trust that my child brushed well enough or long enough. Either way, does it even matter? I don’t think so…I think it means something needs to change!
Here’s a hack a friend shared with me that I’m trying out…and I wanted to share because I know I’m not the only one facing this twice daily challenge!
Parents have to brush their teeth anyway, right, so start brushing your own teeth in the bathroom with your kids. Then, add these fun rules for a game of Family Brushing:
Family Brushing Game Rules:
- All teeth brushers must look each other in the eye, swapping when there’s more than two;
- Adults must be at eye level with children;
- You must not laugh;
- If you laugh you must say, “I laughed so I must spit,” and spit in the basin.
- Optionally step rule 3 up to smiling too.
- While brushing your teeth you can try to make others laugh!
The benefits of the Family Brushing Game Hack Include:
- Great fun and many laughs
- You know they brush properly and for long enough
- They learn how to brush properly by watching you
- They actually look forward to it
- When they are older, brushing teeth will bring back happy memories.
- You can still consume food/drink after and simply play [brush] again later
“Most children lack the coordination to brush or floss their teeth on their own until about the age of 6 or 7. Up until this time, remember that the best way to teach children how to brush their teeth is to lead by example.”
FAQs on Teaching Kids to Brush:
Once a child has teeth, you should clean them. A wet washcloth wrapped around your finger or a baby toothbrush can be used for little babies as well as a soft bristled toddler toothbrush. Your pediatrician can advise you on when to start a toddler toothbrush and toddler toothpaste.
Your pediatrician can best advise you when to visit a dentist based on your child’s teeth…but generally a first appointment is recommended around 1-2 years old.
We got a wide range of suggestions on this – at a minimum most dentists seem to agree that up until age 6 or 7 kids cannot properly floss or brush and require close supervision and assistance. Some dentists recommend parents brush and floss up to age 10. As always, ask your dentist for personalized recommendations 🙂
Visit the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry for TONS more helpful info…straight from the authority on kids’ teeth!
Recommended Dental Hygiene Products for Babies & Toddlers:
How do you teach your kids to brush and floss? Any advice, tips, more games or hacks to suggest? Please drop them in the comments, we want to learn all the fun ways parents are teaching kids about good dental hygiene!
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